06/09/14

Give Voice to Your Brand

Do you know what your brand sounds like?

Sure, it’s easy to give a design to your brand, pick fonts and colors that seem to best represent the feeling your brand conveys, but how about if you try to speak as your brand? Is it as easy?

The first step in promoting your brand is establishing your branded voice. And for you business owners and solopreneurs, I don’t mean your personal voice: I’m referring to the voice of your company. While there can be a little overlap, your personal voice and your company’s branded voice should be completely separate things. Establishing the voice of your company is super critical to the success of your marketing and getting the attention of your target audience. It should give your target audience and influencers an idea of what to expect before they start working with you. 

To understand what your company should sound like, you need to first think of your company as a person. Ask yourself:

  • Who has the voice you want to have? 
  • Does he speak as “we” or “i”? 
  • Is he formal or informal? 
  • Corporate or fun? Somewhere in between? 

Think through what your persona would look like, what they’d wear, what words they would say.


If you’re having trouble visualizing who this person could be, let’s look at a couple of examples.

AARP
You’ve probably heard of AARP and are aware that its target audience is Americans, who are aged 50 and over and retired. That’s a pretty big target audience. These individuals are looking for someone trustworthy to give them advice as they encounter all sorts of obstacles in this new stage of their life.

Even though its target audience is an older generation, AARP has one of the most successful blogging and social media strategies out there. You’re probably thinking, “Well, how can that be? Older generations aren’t on social media as nearly as much as the youngsters."

Here’s how AARP’s social team does it: At the center of its strategy is the powerful voice of Rhonda. Rhonda isn’t a real person, but it’s the persona AARP established to carry its message to its audience. Rhonda is the woman who lives on your block, who just knows what’s going on. She’ll invite you in for a cup of tea, ask about your family, and remember what you told her the last time about your vacation plans. She knows of a new product or a good landscaper to recommend, she’ll tell you and you’ll trust what she says. She’s friendly, you trust her. 

The AARP social team has taken this voice and applied it to every piece of content they put out there. The result has been a super successful social strategy out with a truly engaged audience. | See Rhonda in action on Twitter.

Now, on the other hand, what if your brand needs something a little more …. playful? Try this one:

DiGiorno Pizza
Determining a target audience for a company like DiGiorno Pizza is a little more tricky because a frozen pizza product could apply to just about any American who’s looking for an easy dinner option. Its target audience just isn’t that obvious. What’s so great about what DiGiorno has done is they’ve whittled their target market down to a really specific type of person: The couch potato dude. 

The guy who cracks snarky comments while watching the game or his weekly show. 

DiGiorno has adopted a similar voice that feels like it’s that dude sitting next to you on the couch - and then it seizes any cultural moment it can, all related to whatever is on TV. While much of what is posted from the DiGiorno social media accounts has absolutely nothing to do with pizza, the posts are so memorable that they stick in your mind. So, the next time you’re in the freezer section at your grocery store and are debating on which frozen pizza to get, chances are DiGiornio Pizza will be at the forefront of your mind. | Get a chuckle over at DiGiorno's Twitter feed.


Funny or serious, playful or corporate, it doesn’t matter which voice you settle on for your brand so long as it matches the feel of your company. Once you establish that voice, then rock it across all marketing outlets so your future clients can get a taste of what your company is all about.